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Court dismisses First Bank heist convicts' appeal in damages lawsuit

2018/12/25 21:58:26

Taipei, Dec. 25 (CNA) Taiwan's High Court dismissed an appeal by three foreign plaintiffs Tuesday in a civil lawsuit pursued by the First Commercial Bank to claim for its loss in the high-profile heist of more than NT$83 million (US$2.69 million) from its ATMs two years ago.

In August 2017 the Supreme Court maintained a lower court ruling that sentenced Peregudovs Andrejs of Latvia, Colibaba Mihail of Romania and Pencov Nicolae of Moldova to imprisonment of four years and 10 months, four years and eight months, and four years and six months, respectively, for the robbery.

The penalty was handed down by the High Court in May that year for breaking Taiwan's criminal law, which stipulates that anyone who "obtains, deletes or alters the magnetic record of another's computer or related equipment" without good reason is subject to imprisonment of up to five years.

The trio appealed the ruling but the appeal was overruled by the Supreme Court, thereby ending the case.

Meanwhile, First Bank sued the trio to claim for its loss.

In the civil procedure, the trio were first ordered to pay the bank NT$5.73 million that the bank lost during the ATM heist in July 2016.

They then filed an appeal against that ruling, claiming that the bank should seek the money from the leader of the crime ring that orchestrated the heists.

The trio can still bring their appeal to the Supreme Court.

A total of 22 suspects from six countries were involved in the ATM thefts that took place from July 9 to July 11, 2016. Nineteen of the suspects fled the country and were put on a wanted list.

Members of the international ring withdrew money from 51 First Bank ATMs in Taipei, New Taipei and Taichung after using malware to hack into the bank's computer system.

The theft came to light when members of the public in Taipei alerted police after seeing two members of the ring collecting cash being dispensed by an ATM in the middle of the night.

Police were later able to track down and arrest three men -- one who was indirectly involved in the thefts and two who were in Taiwan to recover the money -- while also recovering more than NT$77 million of the stolen cash.

However, nearly NT$5.73 million is still unaccounted for.

(By Liu Shih-yi and Elizabeth Hsu)
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